Farm: Fish Branch Ranch
Location: Highlands, St. Lucie, and Martin County
Date of Origination: 2004
In 2004, Ru-Mar Inc. purchased Fish Branch Ranch with the intent of expanding the cattle portion of the operation to Highlands County. The decision was based on the ranch’s prime location, great framework, and the declining citrus market. Today, Wes Carlton, Mary Anne Carlton Cruse, and their immediate families manage the ranch.
As the entire family plays an active role in the day to day ranching operations, ranch manager, Wes Carlton, understands that their management practices allow the land to stay viable, fertile and productive for future generations. To achieve these goals, Fish Branch Ranch has implemented Best Management Practices (BMPs) since 2004. BMPs are a set of guidelines that advise producers on how to manage their water, nutrients, and pesticides to reduce agriculture’s impact on the state’s natural resources. These practices include cross fencing and rotational grazing, supplying fresh water sources that limit cattle from ditches and other surface water on the property, soil and tissue sampling, and the continuous effort to control exotic and invasive plant species on the property.
In the community, Mr. Carlton is an active member and former president of the St. Lucie County Cattlemen’s Association. He currently serves on the Florida Cattlemen’s Executive Board and the Board of Directors of Diamond R Fertilizer Company. Mr. Carlton is also an active Florida Farm Bureau member.
When asked why he is a farmer who CARES, Carlton responded, “We depend on the land for production and for succession of the family ranching business.”